Monday, May 4, 2009

I'm feeling much better now, thank you

But I did miss church yesterday. And because I was home by myself, putzing around and trying very hard NOT to get caught up on blogs and instead do something 'churchy,' I found myself pondering on recent spiritual moments.

As many of you know, I teach the Marriage and Family Relations course in Sunday School. We just finished up the Marriage section and we've moved on to Parenting.

A couple weeks ago the lesson was on "The Divine Role of Mothers." It was a good lesson. I was well prepared and excited to learn together with my class.

Got to church - Relief Society first. As the first hour was wrapping up, I reached down for my lesson manual to go over the outline one more time (cuz I'm weird like that.) AND IT WASN'T THERE.

I had totally forgotten my manual at home - and there wasn't time to go get it.

Enter: fervent prayer.

I felt a distinct impression to open the Bible Dictionary. I followed it. The definition for "mother" (at least in the Portuguese Bible dictionary - don't know about the English) is as follows:
Divine title for a woman who gives light to children.

Bam. There's my lesson.

We spent the next hour discussing that one little phrase. Here's what we came up with.
  • Motherhood is a God-given role
  • It is a title - implying it must be earned
  • A woman doesn't have to give birth to be a mother - notice it just says "to children"
  • According to the Bible dictionary, "light" means "divine energy of Christ"
  • Therefore, to be a mother, we must teach our children about Christ

Question.

Does this mean a woman who feeds, dresses, and cleans her children, but doesn't teach them, isn't a mother?

I've thought a lot about that.

I hope I deserve to be called one.

25 comments:

Kristina P. said...

I actually really struggle with Sunday School, and so I was so glad when they added this class to our branch. I've taken it a couple of times, and I love it.

Sounds like you would be an excellent teacher.

Christa Jeanne said...

Huh - that's really great, Becky! I never thought of it that way. It makes how we're always told you don't have to have children to be a mother make so much more sense. Yesterday I was at a friend's baby's blessing, and there is just something so special about little children! It makes me happy to know that even though I'm still doing the working-girl thing, I can still be a mother by the Lord's definition, helping to teach others' children about Christ. There's nothing I can think of that's more important than that in the whole world.

(Oh, and PS - I love your list on the right there! Good luck working your way through it!)

Erin said...

Thanks for this message - I will definitely be adding "teaching my children about Christ" to my list this week. I usually do by example, but not so frequently by outwardly discussing things with them.

Deb said...

What an interesting definition. I need to check the English BD to see. Either way, I'm stitching yours on a sampler.

I'm a mother x 2, I guess, since I have my own two wonderful kids, and 955 that I teach from August-June.

Perpetual Mommy Exhaustion said...

Have you ever noticed that Adam named Eve "the mother of all living" before she ever conceived a child? I've thought a lot about that, and about my responsibility to not just the children I give birth to, but those in my stewardships and the ones in my ward, and any child that comes into my home. Thanks for the thought.

Kazzy said...

Oooo, I like Perpetual Mommy's comment. I never realized that before. I work in the schools also and feel motherly toward those kids too. Good topic.

SO said...

What great inspiration that you received. I love how you followed that inspiration and the discussion that followed. It is so true.

Boy Mom said...

You are so inspired. Funny how leaving the lesson plan is sometimes the right lesson plan.

DeNae said...

I'm guessing the Portuguese verb for "to give birth" is similar to the Spanish "Dar Luz" - To Give Light.

I have always loved the unashamed poetry of that language. For all its efficiency and melting-pot inclusiveness, English often loses the more sublime imagery found in less diluted languages.

And you're spot-on, sister. It is the unique privelege of women to give light to the children of their sphere. We don't have to "give birth" in order to "give light".

Mommadj5 said...

I love all the thoughts, especially about Eve. Really makes you think. I have a slightly different take on the divine energy of Christ in relationship to your question about mothers that clothe, feed etc but don't teach about Christ being Mothers. Divine ENERGY I would interpret as the LIGHT of Christ, which is given to all mankind.(this is not the Holy Ghost) To teach about the light of Christ (research Joseph Fielding Smith answers to Gospel Questions)is to teach your children good from evil, right choices, the golden rule, being kind etc., not necessarily about the Savior himself. So women who teach children these things are qualified to be a Mother, however, logic would dictate that those who abuse (emotionally and physically), teach "evil" etc would NOT qualify to be called Mother, even if they give birth to a child. Interesting - I have will to pray & think on this some more. Love stuff like this that causes you to expand your thinking.

Mommadj5 said...

Something I forgot - you not only deserve to be called Mother, you are one of the best I know - and I'm not just saying that because you're my daughter! Don't delete this comment!! :-)

Debbie said...

That is such a wonderful lesson for us to ponder. I hope I deserve to be called mother as well.

Rachel said...

That is wonderful. I have never really thought about it like that. I hope I deserve the title as well. . .

Heather of the EO said...

I love this. Love the definition,

gives the divine energy of Christ to children.

I won't forget that. Thank you.

Brittany Ann said...

Wow, that's really beautiful. I know some women who would really benefit from readingg this. Is it alright if I pass it along?

janae said...

DUDE. My Relief Society lesson. Last week. Same story. (Minus the looking up 'motherhood' in the BD.) What a tender mercy - for both of us!

Carla said...

Oooh, good post. Some food for thought really. I hope I'm on the same side of the fence as well and many times we need to be reminded of the extra umph "teaching" that mothers should be doing. :)

Lara said...

Excellent food for thought. iI once gave a lesson on the famly proclamation and how women are to nurture the children. I looked up nurture in the dictionary and was shocked at how all-encompassing the word was and it really made me look at motherhood so differently.

txmommy said...

wow, that is insightful.

KC Mom said...

Well, then I deserve a badge...
I had to teach my girls about the law of Chastity tonight. If that isn't about teaching the light of Christ...I don't know what is!!

Melanie J said...

What a cool way to look at it.

Kathy @ Real Mom, Real Life said...

Love that definition... not so sure I live up to it.

Deep thoughts.

Melissa Bastow said...

I'm so glad you didn't die.

If that's the definition then on some days I am technically not a mother. Because on screaming/sickness/and/or/insane/amount/of/errand days, only feeding, dressing and cleaning really fit in...

HeatherKitts said...

Ooooh, this is DEEP. I like it. Considering that I could be a 'mother' in the technical sense of the word ANY DAY NOW, I need to really think about this one. Wow I have alot of work to do once she's born, huh!? :)

Destinee said...

Just beautiful!